Dean Lyrissa Lidsky was interviewed on the PBS NewsHour on August 8, “Why kicking Alex Jones off social media is not legally censorship.” In the interview, she commented about the decision by iTunes, Facebook, Spotify and YouTube to remove Alex Jones’ audio and video content from their platforms.
The social media platforms removed him from their sites for violating their hate speech rules. Dean Lidsky explained that “the First Amendment only protects citizens against restrictions on their speech by the government and government actors. And platforms like Facebook or Google are not government actors. So the First Amendment simply doesn’t speak to their conduct.”
She added, “The other thing that people sometimes misunderstand is that hate speech itself is not a legal category, although it may overlap with things like true threats or defamation that are legal categories. And so the government cannot broadly restrict anything that it might label hate speech, but platforms can if they wish to.”
The interviewer also asked Dean Lidsky about Alex Jones’ legal challenges. He is being sued for libel and defamation by parents of some of the children who were killed at Sandy Hook, as well as a man who filmed the video of the car hitting the counter protester at the Charlottesville, Va., white supremacist rally last year.